Basement waterproofing glossary – Top Terms You Need to Know

Every field of work has its own terminology and the basement waterproofing industry is no different. Some terms we throw around have to do with the science behind why you have a wet basement or crawl space. Others have to do with waterproofing solutions.

We put this list together for you to refer to as needed. And if you ever need one of our inspectors or installation technicians to explain what they mean when they say something, please don’t hesitate to ask.The team here at Value Dry Waterproofing is committed to restoring and maintaining the safety and value of your home.

Basement waterproofing

When we refer to basement waterproofing, we are talking about the act of waterproofing your basement from the interior of your foudation. This may involve the installation of an interior French drain, sump pumps, vapor barrier, and more.

Below grade

This refers to the portion of your foundation which is below the soil level around the perimeter of your home or business. If you have a basement, all or a portion of it is below grade.

Black mold

Black mold is a dangerous form of toxic mold which thrives in dark, damp, and wet conditions. Stachybotrys chartarum is the scientific name.


Condensation is water droplets that form on your basement windows, foundation walls, and concrete floor.

Discharge line

This refers to the pipe that carries water from your sump pump upward and out of your basement to the outside.


Efflorescence on your foundation walls is a sure sign of a wet basement. It’s a crystal salt deposit left behind when water in the concrete, stone, or brick wall evaporates. It looks like a gray or white powdery substance on the floor or walls.

Egress window

An egress window is a window in your basement up at ground level through which you could escape your basement if the pathway to the stairwell is blocked or impassable.


The foundation of your home or business is made up of sub terranian cement, block, stone, or brick walls and floor.

French drain

An interior French drain system consists of a trench filled with gravel and porous piping that directs the flow of groundwater underneath your home to your sump pump well. Installing an interior French drain system can entail removing the existing concrete slab, installing the system, and then re-pouring the concrete.

Ground water

Ground water is the water is water that naturally moves through the soil and rocks during periods of precipitation. It becomes a problem when it reaches the agitated soil surrounding your foundation and causes water seepage.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostatic pressure is the scientific term for the water pressure placed on your foundation by the water in the soil around your foundation. The more saturated the soil, the higher the hydrostatic pressure. That pressure pushes water into and through the seams and cracks in concrete or cinder block walls in your basement, causing foundation seepage and endangering the structural integrity of your home.

Sump Pump

A sump pump is a submersible water pump that pumps the water from your French drain system upward and out of your home. Your basement waterproofing system may have multiple sump pumps.

Vapor Barrier

A vapor barrier is a plastic material placed over your perimeter foundation to direct moisture and water down to the interior French drain system, protecting your basement wall finishings (insulation, framing, drywall). Vapor barriers are also used in Crawl space encapsulation.

Weep Holes

Weep holes in basement waterproofing are small holes drilled into the lower portion of block foundation walls as part of an interior French drain system. This helps water accumulating in the walls to drain into the drainage system and flow to the sump pit. This greatly reduces the hydrostatic pressure on your foundation walls and slows foundation deterioration.

There are a lot more basement waterproofing terms to know, but we’ve covered the basics. If you have a wet basement, you should fix the water seepage issues sooner rather than later. Call our experts at (888) 768-2583 or fill out the online form to schedule a free inspection.

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